The Mets just faced C Richard on Wednesday, so they should be very familiar with him and what he's trying to do. He threw six innings, letting up only one run after surrendering four hits and walking four, while striking out five. He threw 109 pitches and didn't let up an extra base-hit
The 26 year old lefty was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 8th round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Michigan. While at Michigan, he was the back-up QB to Chad Henne, and was 8-15 in pass attempts in 2004. He looks like a football player (6'5" 240 pounds) and made his major league debut in July 2008. He's made 44 career starts (61 appearances), and has 4.37 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. He was one of the four ptichers traded to the Padres for Jake Peavy last year, and he has really benefitted from the transition to the better pitcher's park and the weaker league. His ERA since joining the Padres staff is 3.54 in 127 innings. He faced the Mets last year (August 6th) and got the win, going 5 2/3 innings, allowing nine base runners and three runs, while striking out five.
Although he looks like a power pitcher, he is more of a control pitcher. Richard has a clean delievery and throws from a 3/4 arm slot. He works very quickly (similar to former teammate M Buerhle) and throws a tailing fastball between 89-94 mph (averages 91 this year), a slurve (20% of the time, 81-82 mph) and a change-up (80 mph). His two-seam fastball is by far his most effective pitch, and he uses that to induce ground balls. He has shown a pronounced platoon split in the past, but that has reversed this year (small sample size, but lefties are hitting better than righties against him this year). He relies on very good command/control (< 2.5 W/9 in 2008) which abandoned him last year after the trade, but has improved this year (< 3.5 W/9).
This year he is 4-3 in 11 starts and has a 2.87 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He's gone seven innings in his last four starts, and has allowed three runs or less in all but one start (four runs and two home runs). Prior to that game, he had only allowed one home run. His ceiling is a #4 starter.